Another year, another Jam! This year Stevenson hosted, for the fourth time, a Game Site for International game-making contest Global Game Jam, which itself is in its 12th year.
This past weekend, January 31st – February 2nd, 24 students from Stevenson and 2 high school students came together to connect, create, and collaborate on 6 games of various mediums. The 2 high school girls that participated this year are Members of the organization Girls Who Code and professor Meagan Nyland, one of this year’s faculty advisors, quotes one of them saying, “This weekend we’re going to girls who don’t code,” as the two worked on a board game called Gods of Re-Creation.
This year’s Jam saw a diverse host of majors attending the weekend’s events. On the roster there were VCD majors, English majors, CIS majors, Counseling and Human Services majors, and even a few Nursing Majors, among others. Students reported that they had heard about the event from their English, Programming, Chemistry, Design, and Math teachers, as well as social media.
The group created 6 games over the course of the weekend, 2 board-games and 4 videogames. Professor Nyland recounts them in the following descriptions:
Walk the Path
“In Walk the Path, designed by Lulu Okubadejo and Rebecca Doyle, you’re trying to make it home, but the paths are all destroyed, so you have to build your own path by placing sequential number cards. There are also magic cards that can either help or hurt you, and even break your path, which you can repair, and you can’t have any path cards remaining in your hand when get home or you lose, so there’s a lot of strategy involved.”
Gods of Re-Creation
“The Gods of Re-Creation is an 8-round game where you’re trying to rebuild the world after it has been destroyed, but you play as gods, and as all gods, you are vain and want to rebuild the earth in your own image. Each god has a special ability, and you try to gain wealth and followers and land to earn faith points. It’s a really fun and creative game for up to 8 players.”
E.T.I.T (Extraterrestrial Information Technology)
“E.T.I.T is kind of like having a normal I.T. job, except you’re working with aliens to fix their people milkers and cow turners. You need to read the manual carefully, listen to how they describe their problem, and send them the correct code to fix it. Three wrong codes and you’re fired (sent out into space). They did all their own art work, and each alien has their own unique sounds.”
“TSST was a somewhat unfinished game that gave you the chance to repair a broken relationship. The title comes from the team’s exes first initials.”
“Spaceship Repair was programmed by Professor Ben Wilson, and he has an Easter Egg where, if you survive long enough, you get to see his face floating around in space.”
“Finally, there was The Machine which was programmed by Nicholas Ryan as a solo member. You’re trying to fix the machine, but everything is fighting against you, literally, even your tools.”
These amazing games were submitted to Global Game Jam and will be judged alongside other creations from all over the world. When asked about why she enjoys advising during this event, Professor Nyland said:
“Your students can accomplish so much in just one weekend. Usually you have to wait a whole semester to see students go from unsure about something, to becoming more confident, and then creating an interesting final project. With GGJ, they not only move through those stages more quickly, but they become very self-motivated. You not only get to see what they create, but witness and help guide the creative process first-hand. And you get to see your students work collaboratively in really successful ways. There’s no pressure about a grade, and they’re not learning or creating based on the confines of a rubric. It’s an open path, so they’re much more willing to experiment, take risks, try new things, and trust their teammates to fill in the gaps. It’s very exciting to watch.”
Next year’s Global Game Jam will be January 29th-31st 2021. We hope everyone can make the time to come out and join the fun. It is an experience you will not regret.